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Brain activity predicts fear of pain

Neuroscientific approach may help reconcile self-reported emotions and their neural underpinnings

Date:
December 25, 2018
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Researchers applied a machine learning technique that could potentially translate patterns of activity in fear-processing brain regions into scores on questionnaires used to assess a patient's fear of pain. This neuroscientific approach may help reconcile self-reported emotions and their neural underpinnings.
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Researchers applied a machine learning technique that could potentially translate patterns of activity in fear-processing brain regions into scores on questionnaires used to assess a patient's fear of pain. This neuroscientific approach, reported in eNeuro, may help reconcile self-reported emotions and their neural underpinnings.

Pain-related fear is typically assessed with various questionnaires, often used interchangeably, that ask patients how they feel about their clinical pain. However, it is unclear to what extent these self-reports measure fear and anxiety, which are known to involve different brain regions, and perhaps other psychological constructs.

Michael Meier and colleagues from Petra Schweinhardts' lab at the Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, addressed this ambiguity by imaging the brains of patients with low back pain as they watched video clips evoking harmful (bending) and harmless (walking) activities for the back. Participants' brain activity was predictive of their scores on the various questionnaires. Importantly, different questionnaires were associated with distinct patterns of neural activity. These results suggest similar questionnaires may measure different emotional states.


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Materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Lukas Meier, Andrea Vrana, Barry Kim Humphreys, Erich Seifritz, Philipp Stämpfli, Petra Schweinhardt. Pain-related fear – Dissociable neural sources of different fear constructs. eneuro, 2018; ENEURO.0107-18.2018 DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0107-18.2018

Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Brain activity predicts fear of pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 December 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181225162802.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2018, December 25). Brain activity predicts fear of pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181225162802.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Brain activity predicts fear of pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181225162802.htm (accessed July 17, 2024).

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